Co-Dep EXTERNAL Negatives – from OTHERS

I’m just trying to be nice!

PREVIOUS: External negatives – in us

SITE: Negotiation & the ‘niceness trap (4 parts, re. biz)

The HIGH COST of being ‘too nice’ (cont.)

NOTE: This is how others can react to co-dep ‘niceness’The ‘THEY’ applies to the unscrupulous, the walking wounded, or average joes/janes who aren’t malicious, but don’t have much psychological or personal insight.

• They take advantage of you
Being too available encourages depressed, passive-aggressive, addicted, lazy or narcissistic people (takers) to use you to their benefit – counting on your good nature, & giving nothing back! Once it’s clear that you’re ‘soft’, they’ll ignore any boundary or objection you try to apply. They’ll also demand increasingly more from you, taking you for granted

 They don’t trust you
Since most people assume that few of us are genuinely kind, they’ll tend to doubt your best intentions, considering it a red flag of insincerity. This is true in many circles, where dog-eat-dog prevails. People assume you want something in return, & you do – but probably not what they think. So you risking being misunderstood, since your motive is to be liked & accepted into the ‘inner circle’, no matter how tacky or immature it is

• They have expectations
Because you always do too much, you actually train people to expect you to function way beyond what’s reasonable, or what the job calls for. This becomes their norm for you, at home & work. People actually appreciate you less, taking you for granted, & depend on you to take up their share of responsibilities

They will people-please you
If you’re too nice all the time, your friends – or employees if you’re a boss – will be reluctant to tell you if you have distorted thinking about something or come up with an unworkable idea.  It’s a form of ‘polite deception’, since they don’t want to hurt you, & maybe they think (or know) you won’t be able to handle disagreements or reality. This prevents people from helping you think clearer, make better decisions, be emotionally healthier & more successful

They don’t respect you
You may be seen as a wimp, a patsy, a fool, or just naive – not someone worth listening to.  If you’re a boss, they assume you’re weak, not to be looked up to or able to lead. Whatever your role (family, friends, work), you may in fact be under the delusion that you are building friendships, protecting yourself from ‘depressives’ & making yourself indispensable

HOWEVER: Most unhealthy people talk about others behind their back! Your over-niceness just gives them another topic, & when you find out – third hand – you get angry, but silently, of course!

• They don’t take you seriously
If you let others get away with their ‘crap’, if you give everyone the benefit of the doubt when they clearly don’t deserve it, if you forgive & forget too easily –  people will take your position of  taking the ‘high road’ as oblivion, stupidity or that you don’t care. They will ignore & disregard any opinions or valid suggestions you have to offer, since they assume (or know) you won’t object

They ignore you
If you find it hard to say no, people will eventually assume you mean Yes – even when you say No. That gives them permission to keep pestering, coaxing or manipulating you to do something you actually don’t want to do, because they know you’re a pushover. Also, there are always those who will guilt trip you if you try refusing  them what they want, & some people will be able to talk you into helping them with everything – even when you’re not feeling well, or are busy with other things

• They take offense
If you’re doing too much, too fast & better than everyone else, it makes others look bad, which they will resent. If you’re too positive, pleasant, willing or too flattering, the higher-ups may find it acceptable or at least tolerable, but your peers will ‘not be amused’. This can also apply to parents vs children, siblings with each other, bosses vs co-workers…..

•  They only come or call when they need something
For most people you become nothing more than a means to an end – theirs. They only contact you when they need something, whether it’s a favor, a rush job or just someone to dump their woes on. You’re only a tool to be used, albeit very caring & full of helpful information

• They find you boring
 Your conversations are not usually very interesting. If you never push back, if you never have a clear opinion, if you don’t know what you want….. it’s as if you’re a blank, invisible, not someone others can connect with – which is unsatisfying. Plus it makes them do all the work in the relationship, which is tiring.

NEXT: EXTERNAL Neg. results #2


RECOVERY – What IT IS & IS NOT (Part 2)

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on the experience of those who know



RECOVERY IS NOT...❖…saying we have forgiven our family, as if it were an intellectual decision, made once & for ever, which could wipe out all of the damage they inflicted, & all of our pain

IS…❧…knowing that forgiveness is a gift from H.P. – a ‘letting go’ – as a result of our willingness to do recovery work to clean out old emotional wounds.  Forgiveness is the end product of that work, rather than a prerequisite for growth, as many tell us. Forgiveness isn’t genuine without healing our rage & pain.
PROOF : when we try to ‘will’ forgiveness & thinks it’s all behind us – eventually some life-event will stir up that unresolved pain & bite us in the butt. Besides, some abuses are un-forgivable! But we still have to let go – of being a victim of our own rage by feeling the sorrow that’s underneath

IS NOT…❖…expecting to get unconditional love and perfect sanity from any human. It’s unrealistic, but the Wounded Inner Child demands it anyway. Then, when we don’t get it, we accuse them of abandoning us!

IS…❧…understanding that in adult relationships –  each person has their own needs.  Since our parents couldn’t give us unconditional love, when it would have been appropriate, we can only look for it now from ourselves, our pets & our Higher Power.  As we interact with healthier people we will receive more appropriate companionship – be mirrored, understood, respected, considered, loved…but never perfectly!

IS NOT…❖…getting over our rage, so we don’t have to feel it any more OR not having any more terror, worry, sadness… when we get ‘really healthy’Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 9.38.11 AM

IS... ❧…knowing and accepting that we’ll always have some vestiges of the old pain, fear, rage, shame & abandonment hurt, BUT that those Es doesn’t have to control us
….being willing to separate internally, from the bad voice & externally, from harmful people. It’s absolutely necessary to get away from bad situations & negative thoughts. After all, if you kept scraping away at a sore on your skin, it wouldn’t heal, would it?
• at first this ‘letting go’ can bring up fear & depression, but with time, it will allow us to heal old wounds, so make us less fearful & angry
We can find & use new way to deal with those painful Es – by: letting them out in safe places & ways, learning to accept & comfort ourselves. Then we will experience pleasant, joyful emotions as well.

IS NOT… ❖…thinking that if only we were well enough we’d never get hurt, upset, over-react or feel crazy WHEN we’re with active, abusive, narcissistic, unavailable people

IS…❧…knowing that with healing we do become less devastated by hurtful behavior from others, because:
• cleaning out large chunks of our pain makes us less ‘touchy’
• we don’t take things so personally (that’s the kids’ narcissism). Most things others DO / SAY have nothing to do with us – it’s usually their unhealthy parent & kid who are expressing themselves self-like
• our self-hate is diminished, so we’re not trying to figure out what we did wrong & try to change the impossible
• our shame quotient is lower – because we know who we are, & provide for our needs (seeWhat is Shame”)

At the same time, the healthier we are, the less we want to put up with abusive &/or unavailable people, no matter who they are.  Being with them is definitely like talking to the wall. Nobody home. Bo-o-oring!
It just becomes unacceptable, but now we know we didn’t cause it, we don’t deserve it AND don’t have to stick around for it. YEAH!

IS NOT...❖…not about never hurting anyone else, ever again – as if recovery implied attaining sainthood

IS…❧…knowing that taking care of ourselves (in non-narcissistic ways) instead of rescuing others, may make some people feel angry, scared, abandoned, resentful – & they may accuse us of being selfish, superior or cruel.  ONLY those who are unwilling to take care of themselves will react this way.  It’s essential to remember we are not responsible for the emotional well-being of other adults. If we know we’re ‘clean‘ we can be compassionate, but stand firm in our choices.

IS NOT…❖…about fulfilling the expectations of a ‘life’ we hoped for as a kid or keep every promise we may have made to ourselves as adults – to compensate for & cope with the traumas we had to live through

IS…❧…having healthy goals & dreams, but knowing that:
• life can be thought of as an obstacle course, which takes work, practice & jungle gymperseverance, but is doable
• it is made up of a series of ups & down, changes & surprises, some of which are out of our control
• some of our attitudes, choices & goal will change in recovery.
Childhood decisions & beliefs were useful then, but now they need to be made in the service of our growth, knowing they’ll often go counter to what’s familiar. Now we choose thoughts & actions that will give us a fuller, happier life, not to satisfy our family.
• as we peel away the layers of the ‘false self’ we come to our true, core identity. The needs & desires of the Healthy Child & Wise Adult are what we can then be sure of.

IN RECOVERY, we always want to keep the focus on expressing our highest self, for the greatest good.

NEXT: Request of my readers